Colour, how we see it – YELLOW – Part 4 of 10 – Joanna Close

Yellow is the lightest and brightest of the primary colours. Yellow furnishings bring joy and happiness to a room. On the other side of things yellow can mean danger or caution, many poisonous animals are yellow, as are road signs that warn of caution. I think of buttercups, lemons, calendula, and turmeric. My boyfriend, Jeremy,  and I were talking about yellow and he mentioned the sun, I said that I didn’t think of the sun as yellow, I think of it as bright white, he said I was weird, I think we just have different associations for colours. Being trained as an artist I was taught to look at things, rather than make assumptions about what the world looks like. Upon closer examination tree bark is not necessarily brown, I see bark as a rich warm grey depending on the type of tree of course. The result of really looking at things and breaking them down into lines and bits of colour, can be surprising, colours aren’t always what we assume.

There are many plants and flowers that will give a rich yellow dye, marigolds, weld, coreopsis, dandelions, tansy, chamomile, dyers broom, turmeric, safflower, and golden rod are a few.  When using plants and flowers as a dye-stuff, they can be used as an extract or directly as a plant, chopped up and added to the dye pot. Ochre can be used as a pale yellow dye, when using a mineral as a dye it must be ground up very finely so it becomes a powder. Some yellow dyes lack the light fastness that is needed when dyeing fabric, many dyers stick to weld, dyers broom, safflower and marigold.

On a warm summer day I’ll have a tall glass of lemonade, add a slice of lemon, sit and enjoy and the flowers and foliage bathed in bright sunlight, be it yellow or simply bright white. Maybe you would like to wrap yourself in the yellows that you enjoy.

A golden yellow scarf that i dyed and wove. It was dyed using chemical dyes.
Naturally dyed yellow swatches
Fireweed in the dye pot
A selection of naturally dyed yellow-golds. Fireweed, willow and alder.
A lemon tart that I made one day.


3 thoughts on “Colour, how we see it – YELLOW – Part 4 of 10 – Joanna Close

  1. love the yellows I use a calendula soap and cream wonderful also try the pie with a combo of limes and lemon yum


  2. Loved this article as well as the article on reds.
    Hope to read more of your articles. I found them well researched and easy to follow.
    Jackie Young.


Comments are closed.